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Using Community Advisory Boards to Build Partnerships and Develop Peer-Led Services for Rural Student Veterans.

Cheney AM, Abraham TH, Sullivan S, Russell S, Swaim D, Waliski A, Lewis C, Hudson C, Candler B, Hall S, Hunt J. Using Community Advisory Boards to Build Partnerships and Develop Peer-Led Services for Rural Student Veterans. Progress in community health partnerships : research, education, and action. 2016 Jan 1; 10(3):355-364.

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BACKGROUND: The Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA)/Student Partnership for Rural Veterans (VSP) built partnerships between institutional (health services researchers, VA chaplains) and community groups to develop veteran-to-veteran services on college campuses. OBJECTIVES: Describe challenges and lessons learned in year 1 of the VSP project at six campuses in rural Arkansas. METHODS: Researchers leveraged established community advisory boards (CABs) to develop veteran-to-veteran services. Ethnographic and qualitative methods were used to assess partnership building and evaluate peer-led services. RESULTS: Local established CABs and buy-in from student services and veteran organizations was instrumental to building partnerships and developing services. Challenges included developing rapport with campus leaders and creating sustainable role/expectations for student veteran leaders. CONCLUSIONS: Peer-led services are an ideal way to connect student veterans and link them to resources and health care services. Partnerships can facilitate grassroots efforts to develop local services that meet the needs of diverse student veteran populations.

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